CAROLINA BLUES - Virginia Kantra
Dare Island , Book 4
Berkley Sensation
ISBN: 978-0-425-26969-5
October 2014
Contemporary Romance

Dare Island, North Carolina - Present Day

Lauren Patterson is trying to finish her second book, but isn't having much luck.  Her first novel concerned her time spent as a hostage during a bank robbery, as well as her role in not only getting the other hostages released, but later getting the robbers to surrender.  The wildly successful book was followed by guest appearances and an advance for a second novel, but while on the road with her book tour, she started suffering from panic attacks.  Her visit to Dare Island, thanks to her publicist, has been relaxing, but she still is unable to write.

After his marriage imploded, threatening his career, Jack Rossi left Philly behind to become the police chief on Dare Island.  He wants nothing more than to do a good job, maybe date a nice woman, and have a life without drama.  Then he meets Lauren.  In spite of her almost-Goth appearance, he finds himself attracted to her, and when he realizes she's “hostage girl”, he can't help but admire her courage and intelligence.

Two people recovering from emotionally traumatic experiences find an unlikely romance in CAROLINA BLUES.  Lauren dropped out of college after her father's death to help care for her younger brother.  Her life got back on track until grad school, when she walked into the bank in time to be taken hostage.  Though touted as a heroine for her actions, Lauren feels as if she failed, because one of the gunmen was killed and Ben, the robber that she bonded with well enough to convince him to surrender, is now in prison.  Her life seems split into Before and After the robbery, and she's having difficulty moving forward.  Jack's ten year marriage ended when he realized his wife was sleeping with his partner, and he jeopardized his career during the fallout.  The betrayal of both has left him a bit raw, and he deals best by shutting out as much of his emotions as possible.  Lauren and Jack challenge each other simply by communicating, and as they both start to heal from their pasts, a relationship develops.

The fourth book in the Dare Island series steps outside of the Fletcher family that was featured in the first three books, but not too far.  Lauren's publicist is Meg (CAROLINA GIRL) and Jack works with Luke (CAROLINA MAN), so readers are treated to glimpses of what's going on with the family.  However, the main focus of the book is Lauren and Jack, so you don't have to read the series in order to enjoy this book.  A captivating tale I highly recommend, pick up CAROLINA BLUES.

Jennifer Bishop